Energy Education Center Groundbreaking 

Located at Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum

Board members of the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum picked up shovels and hard hats for an on-site groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.  

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Phil Benedict, left, Museum Executive Director, Tiya Tonn, center, and museum employee Tyler Melugin, right, welcome attendees alongside an artist’s rendition of the future Energy Education Center.

A crowd of supporters gathered to witness Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce,  the emcee for the event with Brad Nightengale, Senior Vice President of Vintage Bank, Caiden Bump, Sales Manager of El Dorado Building Systems, Bill Young, Mayor of El Dorado, and Loren Jack speak during the groundbreaking event.

Supporters excited to watch the Energy Education Center come to life were on hand to witness the groundbreaking ceremony.

“We are excited to share that it is for our new Energy Education Center,” said Jack.

The Energy Education Center, a new facility spearheaded by Loren Jack, Owner of Albert Hogoboom Oilfield Trucking and President of the Board of Trustees, will be an indoor event center equipped with exhibit showcases, tables, seating, a stage, technology for presentations, a kitchen with a service window, and a 14ft access door for special equipment. 

Pictured left to right are Executive Board Members/Building Committee Members President Loren Jack, Vice President Tim Myers, Board Member JR Hogoboom, and Treasurer Sean Maclaskey.

“This building will allow for interactive STEM activities that look to the future while honoring the museum’s mission to preserve the history of the oil industry,” said Jack.

The addition of the Energy Education Center will free up space in the Large Exhibit Hall to expand displays and add exhibit features from the Museum’s extensive historic collections.  The combination of these new features is estimated to bring 15,000 additional visitors per year to the Museum and El Dorado. 

To learn more about this project, visit www.kansasoilmuseum.org/energy-education-center

Police Chief Curt Zieman receives Patriot Award

City Commission Honors Zieman

El Dorado Police Chief Curt Zieman received the Patriot Award from the Kansas Committee of the Employer Support the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Monday evening at the El Dorado City Commission meeting.

Jim Wishart, with the ESGR, presented the award. 

Police Chief Curt Zieman (middle) receives the ESGR Patriot Award from Jim Wishart (left). Officer Brett Sanchez (right) nominated Zieman for the award.

“We work with the employer community, civic groups, and military groups, particularly, the Guard and Reserve,” he said. He explained they provide education and information to employers about time off for training and deployment, but what they like to do most is present awards. 

“We start with our most basic award,” Wishart continued, “which is our Patriot Award.”

Any member of the Guard or Reserves, or their spouse, can nominate an employer – particularly their boss – who makes it easy for them to wear their two hats. 

“They fill out a nomination form and list what it is that makes it particularly easy for them to be a citizen-soldier, as well as an employee,” Wishart said.

Zieman’s nomination was submitted by Officer Brett Sanchez, who just returned from his most recent deployment that day. Sanchez serves in the Air National Guard.

“He just makes it really easy for me to continue to be in the Guard and do that part of my life I enjoy,” Sanchez said. “If I get orders short notice or drills short notice or anything short notice, he doesn’t question it. It makes it very easy for me to do that.”

Sanchez also wrote on the nomination form that Zieman and the rest of the department keep in touch with his family while he is deployed to make sure everything is going alright for them, which is really appreciated.

The Patriot Award recognized Zieman for protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in the Guard and Reserves.

Butler County Legislative Coffee

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosts Butler County Farm Bureau Forum

On Saturday, March 5, 2022 the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosted a Legislative Coffee sponsored by the Butler County Farm Bureau Association. 

Listen to the conversation on the podcast channel here.

In attendance were District 12 Representative Doug Blex, District 75 Representative Will Carpenter and District 14 Senator Mike Fagg.  They spoke to Butler County residents about the work they are currently doing on their behalf and answered questions. 

Representative Blex represents House District 12 which spans parts of 5 counties; Mongomery(part), Chautauqua, Cowley, Butler and Elk.  Blex serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, is Vice-Chair of the Local Government Committee and is on the House Taxation Committee.

“I always enjoy the Farm Bureau forums,” said Representative Blex. “I feel like I get some really straight-shooting of what the issues are.”  

Before and after the panel discussion, voters had the opportunity to speak with their legislators.  Pictured is Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn discussing issues with Representative Carpenter. 

Representative Will Carpenter represents House District 75 which serves the cities of Cassoday, El Dorado, Elbing, Potwin and Towanda and the townships of Chelsea, Clifford, El Dorado, Fairmount, Fairview, Lincoln, Milton, Murdock, Plum Grove, Prospect, Rosalia and SycamoreTowanda.

Representative Carpenter serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee and the Social Services Budget Committee, for which he is the Chair. 

“I enjoy hearing from the folks back home,” said Carpenter.  “They are my eyes and ears out there.”

The Legislators each shared about the work they are doing in Topeka and took questions from the audience. Pictured is Representative Doug Blex speaking.

Senator Mike Fagg represents Senate District 14 which covers 10 counties; Butler, Chautauqua, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Montgomery, Wilson and Woodson Counties.

Senator Fagg serves on the Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee, Ways and Means, Utilities, Financial Institutions/Insurance and serves as the Vice-Chair, Joint Committee for Education, Joint Committee for Mental Health, Sparks Sub-Committee for Modern and Efficiency.

“We had a lot of great questions,” said Fagg.  “The only thing I wish is that we would have more people here because we need to get everyone involved, everyone’s thoughts and ideas need to be heard.”

A small but passionate number of voters attended the Legislative Coffee.

Jeff Varner, Policy Chair for the Butler County Farm Bureau Association, said the event provided an opportunity for the public to visit with legislators.  

“It’s always amazing what you learn,” said Varner. “We have worked hard over the years to hold events like this and plan several more in the coming months.” 

“The whole purpose is to give the community a chance to talk to their representatives, see what is happening in Topeka,” said Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. 

“We hope to have more throughout the year as this is an election year,” said Benedict.

The next Butler County Farm Bureau Association Legislative Coffee is scheduled to be on Saturday, March 26 from 9-11a at the Augusta Train Depot in Augusta. Representative Kristy Williams and Senator Ty Masterson will be in attendance to share the work they are doing in Topeka and visit with voters.

Volunteer of the Year

El Dorado Branch YMCA 

Kyle Loucks is the Volunteer of the Year award winner for the El Dorado YMCA and is a nominee for the overall Greater Wichita YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award that will be presented at the  Annual Celebration to be held March 10th.  As the El Dorado Y Volunteer of the Year, Kyle will be presented with a plaque at the event. 

Kyle Loucks is the El Dorado YMCA Volunteer of the Year

“Our volunteer of the year, Kyle Loucks, works at the front desk,” said Matt Engel Branch Director of El Dorado YMCA. 

“She is our ultimate gretter. The regulars who come in in the morning expect to see her at the front desk,” said Engel.  She is part of our family and part of our culture. She is definitely the life of the time when she is here.”

Loucks has volunteered at the El Dorado YMCA for 6 years. 

“My favorite part is greeting people,” said Loucks. “And I like helping them feel happy and healthy.”

“Kyle has the best attitude,” said Engel.  “She does towel runs and will help wherever she can.”  

  “Volunteers of the Year at the branch level are selected for the exceptional work they do to make the Greater Wichita YMCA better. Their length of involvement with the Y and the impact they make on all those around them are part of the selection process,” said Angela Cato, Director of Marketing for the Greater Wichita YMCA.

Power of One

KAY Unit Conference held in El Dorado

El Dorado High School KAY Club hosted their annual Kansas Association of Youth (KAY) Unit Conference at the USD 490 Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, January 19th.  Students from schools across the region attended the conference which had the theme “The Power of One.”

Each of the El Dorado High School KAY Club members involved with hosting the conference wore t-shirts with a quote by President John F. Kennedy.

“The half-day conference gives students the opportunity to share project and program ideas, to develop leadership skills and to ‘put the spotlight’ on youth in the community where the conference is held,” states the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA).

El Dorado High School KAY Club members and sponsor Heather Fangmann posed with a photo with Guest Speakers Mayor Bill Young, Chase Locke and Sierra Marie Bonn. 


According to their stated purpose, the conferences are held during the winter months, and designed to focus on club leadership on the local level. 

“Two years ago (prior to COVID), EHS volunteered to host a unit conference,” said Heather Fangmann, the El Dorado High School KAY Club sponsor.  

“We were supposed to host it last January, but due to the pandemic, all conferences were canceled,” said Fangmann. 

Students were divided into small groups to participate in activities designed to highlight the “Power of One”

The El Dorado High School KAY Club members selected local speakers to present and share their passion for volunteerism and leadership.

Those guest speakers were Mayor Bill Young, Chase Locke and Sierra Marie Bonn.  Mayor Young gave a presentation titled “C.A.M.P.”  Locke’s presentation was titled “Tomorrow is Here!” and Bonn’s presentation was  “My Favorite Number.”

Mayor Bill Young shared his presentation on “C.A.M.P.” encouraging the students to pursue curiosity, autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Chase Locke shared wisdom with students during his presentation “Tomorrow is Here!”
Sierra Marie Bonn shared her favorite impact number with the students during her presentation “My Favorite Number”